Unique flavors make up this main dish soup from Vietnam - sold in little restuarants and food stalls all across the country. Make this "soup" as spicy hot as you desire by adding little red chilies sliced crosswise. Add Thai fish sauce or Nuoc Mam and lime slices for additional flavoring.
Place beef in freezer for about 45 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, combine water, beef broth, consomme, soy sauce, ginger, cinnamon stick and anise in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and anise; discard. Meanwhile place rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with warm water; let stand until pliable about 20 minutes.
Slice beef across the grain into very thin strips. Drain noodles. Place noodles and carrots in simmering broth; cook for 2-3 minutes or until noodles are tender. Add beef and bean sprouts; cook 1 minute or until beef is no longer pink.
Remove from heat; stir in red onion, cilantro, basil and jalapeno peppers. To serve, lift noodles from soup with fork and place in bowls. Ladle remaining ingredients and broth over noodles. Makes about 4-6 servings.
3/4 to 1 pound good quality boneless lean beef such as sirloin or other good steak
4 cups water
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed consomme
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick about 3 inches long
1 star anise
4-6 oz. rice noodles
1/2 cup thinly sliced or julienned carrots
2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced